4 Ways Consistent Writing Stretches You
For the past year, I have taken time to write consistently. Inspired by this post about John Grisham writing his books early in the morning before work, I took the challenge to write much more often. Mondays through Saturdays, I got up early and wrote before anyone else in my family was awake.
These early morning hours produced hundreds of blog posts and three self-published books, which led me to thank God for leading me on this diligent path. Yet, as I reflect on the past year, I have more to show for in my character development than in my writing results. I have been stretched, and it’s been good for me. If you haven’t tried writing very consistently before, here are four ways it will stretch you for the better.
1. More motivation.
I’ve had several blogs since 2010, but I didn’t post regularly until February 2016. In past blogs I’d post for a month or two, get uninspired or discouraged or over-committed elsewhere, and give up. Posting a daily Lenten devotional got the ball rolling for me in 2016. After doing so for six weeks straight, I established a habit of posting regularly, and my thoughts were more organized.
A greater sense of organization built my momentum. When I looked at other areas of my life that seemed cluttered and disorganized (hello, stacks of paper and books), I realized that no effort leads to no results. I put little effort into writing before 2016 and got minimal results. More effort in blogging led to more reader engagement and more ideas for other projects.
Writing regularly produces results. You have something to show for it. It has taught me that staying motivated pays off in other areas of my life when I cultivate my friendships or keep up with my garden chores.
2. Greater connection skills.
Jeff Goins says that after months of writing consistently, you will find your voice. That’s what happened to me last year. In years past, I considered myself primarily a memoir writer. As I wrote more and studied my reader feedback, I found my voice as a devotional writer and a poet. I can still weave memories into my devotions and poems. Yet because I now understand how to connect with my audience, I tailor my writing to their needs.
I’ve improved my real-life connection skills too. I’ve become a better listener. I’ve become more patient and understanding. In my quest to connect with my readers, I’ve become more others-focused, and that has paid off in my personal life.
It’s not about me anymore. It’s about helping those I’m serving in ways they want to be served, whether it’s my family, friends, or my readers.
3. Higher level of focus.
When I began blogging daily, I had to follow a regimented posting schedule. I had to stay on track with writing every day and posting at consistent times. I learned to follow a plan of action. Following a plan was the main difference between my early blogging years and my current blogging schedule.
I take time every month to create a three- to four-month posting schedule, then I write individual post topics for each week. This saves me the anxiety of staring at a blank screen with nothing to write, and keeps me from giving up. This level of focus has carried over into my everyday life. I order my day more specifically now and get more accomplished. For example, I’m online in the morning and afternoon, but not during evening time with my family.
When I’m tempted to give in to distraction or just plain laziness, I remind myself that my focus on the goal at hand will produce greater results. This has stretched me, but greater focus has produced better relationships and a cleaner kitchen, as well as folders full of writing.
4. Greater peace.
The best benefit that came out of writing consistently is I realized my dream of becoming a writer. I recently quit my job as an administrative assistant to write full-time, and I’ve never been more fulfilled. By writing six days a week for the past 15 months, I’ve gotten back in touch with my calling.
God gave me a dream to write when I was a teenager, and I put that dream on hold for a long time. This year I put my fears and doubts about a writing career aside and simply dove in. Writing consistently built my confidence and affirmed God’s calling on my life. In the days before writing consistently, I struggled to keep my dream alive. But this past year, I learned how consistent work would put that dream in reach.
I have a deep sense of peace now, knowing I’m following God’s will as a writer. I struggled to find that peace before. I believe that writing consistently was the pathway to finding that peace. God stretched me and blessed me in the process of walking a consistent path.
Questions for Reflection
Have you written consistently before, whether short-term or long-term? What benefits did you experience? How could writing more consistently stretch you in other areas?
Sarah Geringer is the author of three self-published books and blogs regularly at sarahgeringer.com. She loves writing in the morning, reading in the afternoon, and enjoying family time in the evening. Sarah lives in her beloved home state of Missouri with her husband and three children.
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